Why an Expensive Showerhead Got the Attention of Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt

Apparently, it isn’t that difficult to convince Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt to take a shower—in a place of business, during business hours, and presumably in the middle of the day—but that’s exactly what the startup Nebia managed to do. Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt each tried out Nebia’s new product and were hooked from that moment on. The product, by the way, is a showerhead.

Related: Eric Schmidt

Well, technically speaking, Nebia is a “shower system” developed by cofounder Carlos Gomez Andonaegu and his father Emilio. Along with cofounder Philip Winter, the Nebia team spent over five years developing a more efficient showerhead. The team succeeded and launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 to scale its efficient showerhead.

So what’s so special about this thing? The short answer is that it is extremely environmentally friendly. Nebia reportedly uses 70 percent less water than a traditional shower head. By comparison, the Nebia shower system claims to use a mere six gallons of water over the average shower time, while a traditional shower head uses over 20 gallons of water.

Sure, everyone loves a great shower, but clearly, it’s the product's environmentally friendly angle that hooked Cook and Schmidt, both of whom are advocates for protecting the environment.

Related: Tim Cook’s New Stance on Climate Change

The exact amount of Cook's and Schmidt’s investments haven’t been revealed. Eric Schmidt’s wife, Wendy, who is president of the Schmidt Foundation, said that Nebia’s technology has the “power to be transformative,” and that not only does it offer the potential to impact water-scarce regions of the U.S., but “around the world where fresh water resources are limited.” However, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Nebia to break into the least developed country (LDC) markets with its current $400 price tag.

Related: Environmentalists: Four Reasons You Need to Know about the Schmidts

Both Philip Winters and Carlos Gomez Andonaegu actually set out to make a product that would appeal to the top of the pyramid, with the overall goal scaling (and quickly it seems) in order to eventually make the Nebia system affordable for the developing world. Which is where its Kickstarter campaign comes in, which includes Bebo founder Michael Birch and Y Combinator as investors, in addition to Cook and Schmidt.

Speaking of Nebia’s Kickstarter campaign, you know how we mentioned that Nebia had the initial goal of raising $100,000? Well it met that goal in eight hours. In less than a week, the campaign had already breached the $1 million mark. That number will surely climb, as the campaign doesn’t end until September.